‘No New Stadium’ Celebration — It’s Yours!
(7.13) And it was never intended for anyone else! No New Stadium is inviting one and all to come and stake claim to the public open space — set aside by the 195 Commission as mandated by the federal government — that the PawSox multi-millionaires think is theirs. (PawSox rep Charles “where’s the river?” Steinberg is at the site every Monday at 5pm, gassing on about boys in kayaks chasing balls.) Go here for Facebook event page.
There is no agenda, or leader, for this event. Bring your own frisbee, soccer goal, trombone, kite, model rocket thing, bocce set, etcetera. It is your land.
It is happening Monday the 13th at 5pm, the same time that the PawSox PR team will be leading a walking tour of the same land, and explaining why they would like Rhode Island to give it to them.
The site is the west side of the Providence River, north of the old Narragansett Power Station, and south of the little bridge that connects South Water Street to downtown.
When you see the land, you will understand why the PawSox want it. You will also understand why the state leaders set it aside for public use.
Team owners always make it sound as if this is some derelict, abandoned parcel somewhere between a pig farm and a nerve gas incinerator. It is not! It’s prime real estate and it has been prepped for much more appropriate and promising uses. And not only is a certain amount of open space mandated for public use, it has been an integral part of the preparations already conducted by the Narragansett Bay Commission and National Grid. (Go here for the I-195 Redevelopment District Stormwater Master Plan.) The PawSox act like this is a minor detail, but the NBC estimates that reworking and moving all the newly installed infrastructure will cost $5 million (up from their original estimate of $4 million) and National Grid couldn’t even come up with a number. One commenter at No New Stadium has written a simple history of this parcel which I found helpful. (Thank you Mr. Gould.)
“The land grab is one of the most galling aspects to this scheme. The public originally bought the land to build the highway, it wasn’t seized. Then the public built that highway at great cost. More recently the public once again purchased land to relocate that highway which it did. The public paid to have the old highway removed and just now the land has been cleared and landscaped to make it safe and ready for a new use. All together this represents considerable public investment. These guys come along and act like this property is just sitting there doing nothing and we should cheer them on and be happy to just give them this land and some additional money besides so they can have something that will make more money for them. Like they are doing us this huge favour.”
Also in the news:
1) An op-ed in today’s Boston Herald “Stadium game a loser for taxpayers.”
2) An op-ed last week by longtime local businessman Stanley Weiss “AAA Stadium a Risky Idea” (ProJo 7.4.15), “my concerns about a proposed AAA baseball stadium for the city are the location, Rhode Island’s financial involvement, and the quality of the jobs that would be created.” Weiss is chairman of the Providence Public Buildings Authority, and formerly served with the Capital Center Commission, Commerce Rhode Island, and the Port of Providence Commission.
3) And recently Senate president Paiva Weed spoke to Tim White, “At this juncture I haven’t seen anything to indicate to me that there is any realistic appetite anywhere for this ballpark . . .” (Tim White, WPRI, 7.9.15)
4) At this point, these taxpayer-supported boondoggles have been widely studied by experts, and leaders with integrity and brains who make decisions based on data and analysis, not anecdotes about boys chasing homeruns in the river are taking a pass. Even President Obama’s 2016 budget calls for barring the use of tax-exempt bonds to finance professional sports facilities. (WSJ 3.8.15) Please, let’s not be the last municipality to fall for this scam.
5pm, Monday, July 13, Dyer Street on the riverfront (just go, you’ll figure it out)